New York City Electric Scooter Accident Lawyers
Hach & Rose, LLP represents individuals who have been hurt in electric scooter accidents in New York City and across the state. If you’ve been hurt in an accident as a rider, a pedestrian, or a motorist, contact us at (212) 779-0057 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights and legal options.
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles says that motorized scooters (vehicles with motors attached and handlebars for standing riders) cannot be registered or operated on any street, highway, parking lot, sidewalk, or other areas in New York State that allows public motor vehicle traffic. Other motorized devices that cannot be registered in New York include mini-bikes, off-road motorcycles (dirt bikes), go-karts, golf carts, and motor-assisted bicycles. The DMV does allow people to register limited use motorcycles, which the agency notes are commonly referred to as mopeds or motor scooters.
While electric scooters are not yet legal in New York, they are already being used, and it only seems to be a matter of time before the city legalizes their usage. While New Yorkers have mixed feelings on this latest transportation option, the truth is that most people are going to have to learn to adjust.
The timing of the electric scooter debate in New York City is important as residents prepare for a 15-month shutdown of the L train that connects Brooklyn to Manhattan. While the L train will continue to operate in Brooklyn between Bedford Avenue and Rockaway Parkway, many people will be forced to seek new transportation options during this time.
Did you sustain serious injuries or was your loved one killed in an electric scooter accident in New York City? If your crash was caused by another party’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation for all of the damages you have suffered.
Hach & Rose, LLP represents clients injured in accidents all over New York City. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (212) 779-0057 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
New York City Electric Scooter Laws
Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden told CNET in October 2018 that the company did not initially go into New York because it was illegal to use an electric scooter at the state level. “Where there are no laws, that’s where we go in,” VanderZanden told CNET.
City Council members Ydanis Rodriguez and Rafael Espinal wrote in an August 22, 2018, New York Daily News op-ed that they intended to introduce legislation that would allow for electric scooters on the streets and urge the administration to create an electric scooter share pilot program. They pointed out that with the L train shutdown looming, thousands of Brooklynites would soon be seeking alternative transit options into Manhattan, and electric scooters would be an emission-free solution with a minimal effect on congestion.
Rodriguez and Espinal also pointed out that the issue is not just limited to the L train corridor. “Transit delays and dysfunction disproportionately affect communities of color, especially in the outer boroughs,” they wrote. “We’re more likely to travel further and wait longer for mass transit because our system was neither designed — nor sufficiently improved over time — to address our commuting needs.”
Bird has crafted what it refers to as its Save Our Sidewalks pledge. The three pillars of this pledge are:
- Daily Pickup — Bird says it will operate a system that will retrieve all of its vehicles from city streets every night and inspect those vehicles for maintenance and repairs. The entire fleet will be repositioned in locations where the vehicles will be needed the following day.
- Responsible Growth — Bird states it will not increase its number of vehicles in the city unless they are being used at least three times a day on average, and the company will remove unutilized vehicles. The company says it will share utilization data with the city.
- Revenue Sharing — Bird pledges to remit $1 per vehicle per day to city governments to build more bike lanes, promote safe riding, and maintain shared infrastructure.
In an August 18, 2018 op-ed, The New York Times editorial board said that the Save Our Sidewalks initiative was an offer that the city should not refuse, encouraging other rental companies to do the same. “New York needs more bike lanes that are behind parked cars and other barriers, which shield bikers and scooter riders from traffic and make it harder for cars, vans, and trucks to park in them,” the board wrote.
In August 2018, Bird hosted a demonstration in Bed-Stuy that allowed people to ride the scooters around Restoration Plaza.
Types of Electric Scooter Accidents
Though electric scooters are not complicated to ride, people can usually get an immediate sense of their shaky stability. For many riders, it may feel as though a sudden jerk of the handlebars could result in the vehicle turning over.
As it turns out, many electric scooter accidents happen suddenly and without warning, even when riders are operating within the law. Frequent causes of electric scooter accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Defective Scooters — When an electric scooter is not properly maintained, the natural wear and tear can lead to certain parts failing, causing accidents. In some cases, the electric scooter may have been made with a defective part, and the manufacturer of that part could be liable for a defectively designed or defectively manufactured part.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents — Electric scooters should generally use bike lanes, but some cars may cause accidents when they travel into these bike lanes. In some instances, cars strike electric scooters at intersections. Electric scooters may also collide with cars if they travel in regular traffic lanes when bike lanes are not available.
- Collisions with Pedestrians — Electric scooter riders should stay off sidewalks precisely to avoid hitting pedestrians, but some electric scooter riders may be forced onto sidewalks when bike lanes are blocked. While scooter riders can be at fault for some of these collisions, other collisions could be the fault of pedestrians who step into bike lanes.
- Dangerous Road Conditions — Some electric scooter crashes are caused by problems with the roads that riders travel on. Potholes, malfunctioning traffic lights, and poor design can lead to the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roadway possibly being liable for a victim’s injuries.
Always file a police report after a traffic accident and be sure to get the driver’s license information of any person involved in your accident. Do not rely solely on the name and phone number a person provides without somehow confirming their actual identity, as people who know they are at fault for an electric scooter accident may use a fake name to avoid liability.
Types of Electric Scooter Injuries
Helmets are usually recommended for electric scooter riders, but that does not mean that they are always used. Even with helmets, most electric scooter riders do not have anywhere near the level of protection that is afforded to occupants of other motor vehicles.
As a result, an electric scooter crash can result in devastating injuries that may include, but are not limited to:
- Road rash
- Muscle strains
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
If scooter accident injuries are fatal, family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party.
Contact a New York City Electric Scooter Accident Attorney Today
After an electric scooter accident, many companies will claim the accident was caused by a victim’s improper use of the scooter. You may know differently, but you will have a hard time getting an electric scooter company to admit otherwise.
When you are involved in any kind of electric scooter accident, your first move should always be to make sure that you receive medical attention. You should do this even when you do not think your injuries are serious, as some injuries involve delayed symptoms and insurance companies will claim that any delay in treatment is proof that the injuries are not as severe as claimed.
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed in an electric scooter accident, your next step should be to retain legal counsel. A skilled personal injury attorney will immediately conduct an independent investigation of your crash and collect the evidence needed to prove that another party’s negligence caused your accident.
Hach & Rose, LLP has over 100 years of combined legal experience. Call (212) 779-0057 or contact us online to have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free consultation.